The Altitude Junkies communications was up and running today. Edita wrote and also called to test her satellite phone. It worked great and it was good to hear her voice. She sounded good and the throat problem seemed to be left behind in Tingi 🙂
Edita’s words….”We left Tingri around 5 AM Nepalese time (Chinese time 3:45 AM). It was still dark, we could see big stars in the sky. The TIngri dogs were finally asleep, after a night of relentless barking. Many of my goup members could not even sleep because of the barking.
Another reason we couldn’t wait to leave Tingri was bad food. We only felt full for an hour or so before we would get hungry again. We couldn’t stand eating rice twice a day and no good source of protein.
It was a bumpy drive to BC yesterday morning. It was a narrow gravel road winding around the hills and mountains. At the beginning, I could see only shapes of big mountains surrounding us. Later on, we were able to distinguish a distant black pyramid of Mt Everest. We all got quite excited.
However, the closer we got, the more we saw how massive the mountain is. Pretty soon the awe turned into a sense of fear. As we were approaching the base camp, we some the West ridge and the North East Ridge of Mt. Everest in full view. The day couldn’t be more perfect, not a single cloud in the sky. Our eyes were glued to this massive mountain, chills ran down my spine! We all knew it’s a big mountain and most had seen it several times from the distance, but we couldn’t believe it was that huge!
Even though I climbed other two 8,000 plus meter peaks, this one looked incomparable. I have to admit I am a bit scared… but at the same time – thrilled! I wouldn’t be here if this would be easy. I welcome the challenge.
As I approached this massive beauty, I couldn’t stop saying “Chomolungma, the goddess of all mountains, accept my presence here and give me the chance to climb your footsteps and ridges…” in my mind. I come here not as a conqueror but as a humble human beeing with an open heart and mind to experience you, Chomolungma…” I mentioned before, climbing for me is more of a journey. I am here to enjoy that journey and if I happen to summit, it will be a huge bonus!
After about 4 and a half hours driving in our bus, we arrived at the base camp.
It usually takes around 3 hours on a land cruiser. The bus dropped us of about 200 meters away as it couldn’t get any closer. Dragging our back packs and shopping bags from Tingri (some people got few boxes of soda, coke, etc… to complement the AJ provisions), we finally got to the base camp. The Sherpas arrived there couple of days ago, so most of the tents were already erected. There are 8 big tents: two kitchen tents, 2 dinning tents, 2 shower/toilet tents, 1 communication tent and 1 storage tents for us, climbers and Sherpas.
Also, every group member gets an individual tent in the BC, including Sherpas. Sherpas her at AJ are treated the same as climber which is not the case in many other commercial companies. There are also 3 big domes for recreational activities – one ‘silent’ tent for resting and reading, one tent for ‘socializing and relaxing’, and the third one for communications as well it serves as a sleeping tent for Phil.
Phil gave up his personal tent as one Sherpa tent was missing, (Phil is a class act).
It’s been less then one day since we arrived, but we already settled into the base came and into our personal tents. My tent will be my home for the next two months here, on the footsteps of Chomolungma. I tried to make my tent as cozy as possible by spending all afternoon arranging my stuff.
To avoid clutter in the tent, Phil erected a storage tent where we can keep all gear and items we don’t need right away in that tent. I made my tent as spacy as possible. I already like it and spent a bit of time getting away from everybody and enjoying time with myself. Our lifes are so busy back at home, so I am taking this opportunity to just be with myself, listening to the wind outside and contemplating Chomolungma right in front of me….
Phil decided we better have some downtime before we start climbing. Yesterday, we gained a huge amount in altitude – from 4,300 m in Tingri to 5,160 m in BC. That is a lot in one day. This is why climbing the North East ridge of Mt Everest is more challenging as the distance between camps is longer and there is no way to acclimatize by a gentle increase in altitude. Therefore, altitude sickness is a huge danger when you start climbing if you are not properly acclimatized. We will spend seven nights in the base camp before we start going up to ABC (Advanced Base Camp). Tomorrow, we will have our Puja, which is a religious Buddhist ceremony which is conducted before climbing begins. No Sherpa would climb without Puja as they consider bad luck on the mountain.” What a great update! Edita asked me to ask you to don’t forget to give what you can to the Everest for Sahel Campaign as a small fee for this great armchair adventure! Stay Tuned 🙂
Everest North 2013 AJ Team